Have a banana

Today I am looking back thirty or more years which seems like just yesterday to me. I’m looking back to the 1980s and my starting point is this toy lorry I acquired then.

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It’s still in somewhat grubby plastic packaging, but it does come out.

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And look at that it is absolutely pristine.

It’s an advert for a brand of floppy diskettes. Remember them?  Five and a quarter inch squares of plastic material containing a disc of magnetic material. You could store computer programs or other data on them. And they were so much better than audio tapes which we used as well. First of all, they offered random access you didn’t have to wind backwards and forwards through a tape to find the right place and then they were near instant at loading and saving information. And at the time, the storage capability seemed vast. A standard floppy disc could hold 100 kilobytes. Now that’s laughable today. As taken on my low res camera, the photo of the lorry above occupied 2604 kilobytes of memory. That would need 27 such discs now plus software to stitch them altogether. That would be entirely impractical in the second decade of the 21st century.

And Banana diskettes offered something new. Guess what? You could use both sides of the disc on a single side disc drive. You just took the disk out and turned it over. So you could get 200 kilobytes of data on one disc. Clever stuff!

For those who like the toy I took a photo of the maker’s marks.

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It means nothing to me, but that photo is a bit less complex than the one of the whole lorry and would have needed only 26 sides of disc (13 bananas) to store it.

For me the lorry brings back happy memories of using the old Acorn Electron computer and feeling I was in charge of it. I could program it in quite complex ways that enabled me to make the most of its amazingly limited memory. We had a local computer club where we all helped each other to become more adept at managing the wondrous 1980s machines we had.

Happy days!

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2 Responses to “Have a banana”

  1. gaphodoc Says:

    Pretty sure I have some Majorette “cars,” but I would have to find them!

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